Keva Whitley, vice president, digital channel manager, doesn’t let negativity into her career instead she looks for opportunities to grow. Learn how she plans to tackle her next challenge – developing UMB’s digital banking team.

Rejection turns to opportunity

One lesson I’ve learned in my time at UMB is that there is opportunity in everything—you just have to look for it and embrace it. Since joining UMB in 2008, I’ve worked in several positions. I started in a pilot program for a lead teller position in retail banking and then became a branch manager. Then my career at UMB hit its first bump–I applied for another new job and this time I wasn’t selected. Of course, I was disappointed, but instead of focusing on the negative, I decided to find the silver lining.

I challenged myself to keep growing and to find new ways to be innovative and stand out. I looked for occasions to mentor other associates and take on projects that pushed me professionally. Because of this hard work and optimistic mindset, an even better opportunity came up and I became the float team manager for Kansas City and St. Louis. Hard work, delivering results and relationship-building were helping me drive my career move forward, and I was excited to keep the momentum going. I was later promoted to UMB’s national float team manager.

I truly believe every opportunity leads to something better. Without facing rejection and having to wait for a better opening, I wouldn’t have sought out the experience needed to serve in my newest position, digital channel manager. In this role, I am focused on building a digital bank at UMB and finding creative solutions to create a seamless banking experience for our customers.

Creating a digital bank

The pandemic has brought many challenges, we we’ve seen an increase in customers engaging with UMB’s digital platforms as a result. In the past couple of years, we’ve introduced a new online banking platform, enhanced our mobile app, launched digital account opening for savings and checking accounts and created a team of digital bankers.

The digital bankers will provide the same great service our customers have come to expect in our branches. They are focused on meeting our customers through their channel of choice – meaning if the customer is more comfortable opening an account online, we can help them or if they send us an email but would rather have a phone call to talk through questions, we can connect them to the right associate. As always, relationships are at the center of everything we do at UMB and these bankers bring decades of banking and customer service experience to enhance our growing digital platforms.

Offering online account openings created another opportunity for UMB to make a significant impact in all the markets we serve by being more accessible. I designed the service and experience for online account openings and, as of summer 2021, 25% of consumer accounts were opened digitally. As consumers’ wants and needs continue to change and as digital banking evolves, it’s important we stay connected to those changes. My team and I are now in the process of expanding the ability to open other services online.

Connecting service and community

Since I’ve served in different roles at UMB, I’ve been fortunate to always learn something new. In each position, I dive in headfirst and look for opportunities to expand my leadership skills in the community and build an inclusive workplace. That’s why I established UMB’s partnership with Junior Achievement and drove support for their BizTown program. I also spearheaded volunteer days for UMB associates to work with students as they engaged with the program.

Creating an inclusive and equitable culture by providing broader banking opportunities for communities is something I’m passionate about. Amid the pandemic, there was a need for digital account solutions, especially for those in underserved communities. So, we took steps to increase our customers’ ability to open accounts online beyond the immediate geographies near a brick and mortar branch, which means more communities can use banking products and services.

This push toward digital account openings, has greatly helped the bank expand our offerings to new customers as well as assist our local customers that do not live near a UMB branch. It’s important to meet customers at their channel of choice, whether that be in the branch or opening an account online, so that whatever avenue they choose, we can connect them to the right associate.

I’m excited to combine my passion for digital banking and civic leadership to develop and grow our service offerings at UMB. And as I’ve done before, my plan is to keep learning and remain open to new ideas and opportunities to continue bettering myself and the company.

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